Friday, November 30, 2018

O Tannenbaum, or in my case, Oh, Tannenbaum




December is hours away, and I am doing OK

My children were kind enough to bring  up my old "forever" Christmas tree from the basement after a Thanksgiving dinner last week.  It is showing its age and some lights refuse to twinkle.  I can relate.  It is in its spot by the window and there it has stood naked for days while I try to ignore the whole darn thing.  Wednesday, I tackled it and brought up the first box of "stuff".  There are six more, but because of my lack of  ho, ho, ho this year, I  knew I could not handle any more.  I took out the first box in the box and carefully hung eleven ornaments.  My back started to hurt, so I needed to sit down and contemplate the whole matter and decided Thursday would be a better day for decorating.  Unfortunately, it had slipped my mind (happens often) that the next day I had to go to work and there would not be enough hours left to do a proper job.  Plan C would be to do it on the next rainy day which happens nearly everyday here. So I was committed and I got the freeking tree up.  I did it, it is done, and I would like to say, the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in my abode.  Well, kind of , sort of , maybe.  I'll just get that can of Sparkling Spruce air freshener spray and see if that works some magic.  That and a lovely glass of fine wine just might have me Fa la la-ing.




Daisy was not any help and hopefully she will enjoy the tree from afar, and not on one of the branches.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Ina, Ina, Ina

I plan on making soup on this blustery autumn day and I am doing OK.


Ina Garten, a patron saint of all good things to eat, is my idol.  Look at that happy face, with the beautiful cheekbones, and smiling eyes.  Then look down to that large bowl of something especially good that she has made.  Who couldn't love that woman!!

I used to be a decent cook (although my kids might question that statement) but now I am a forgetful cook.  I confess to missing  an ingredient or an instruction every now and then and having to scramble when I finally see my mistake. I have found that flour, seasoning and hot sauce can fix many things.  When that doesn't work, I forget about the whole thing and make reservations.

Ina, though, is perfect.  On her show, The Barefoot Contessa, there are no spills or splatters, and she never loses her cool or drops a piece of chicken on the floor.  She speaks in a tone of voice that assures you that you can do the same. Then there is Jeffrey, her husband, a very genteel man.  He strolls in the house with a smile, kisses his wife, says about five words and then disappears. You don’t get a more perfect spouse than that.   Ina will have a guest or two to entertain and they may be a celebritity or just a well-heeled neighbor who is going by the script and may be being paid with a lunch/dinner made by Ina.  The show ends with them all eating outside in her perfect garden on a perfect table as they converse in a perfect manner.  No loud laughing and burps are ever heard.

If  wishes came true and I could have but one, it would be to get an invitation for lunch at her lovely home in the Hamptons.  I would dress well (no yoga pants), make sure I use the right fork, and talk about the lovely things in the world.  When Jeffrey strolled by, I would compliment him on his tie, and then let him have his usual 30 second conversation with his wife.   He would drift off to wherever it is he goes, and then Ina would go into the kitchen and bring out the most scrumptious and beautiful dessert that I have ever seen.  She would place it in front of me, I would thank her, and then I would probably sneeze all over the creamy topping because I am allergic to Jeffrey’s cologne.  Nothing really is perfect, not even in my dreams.

Ina Garten's new book, Cook Like a Pro, is now available.  I have bought and used her book, Make it Ahead, with success.  It is perfect for me as my explosion in the kitchen is cleaned up before guests arrive and they never need to know about the chicken on the floor.

.



Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Invasion

We went from sweating to sweaters in a day, and I am OK.

This summer we had a new visitor.  Isn't he/she beautiful?


It is a Spotted Lantern Fly.

Having first appeared in 2014 in some cargo from the East, this invasive, killing machine has taken over a large part of southeastern Pennsylvania trees and is now moving into other states.  Their favorite hang out is the Ailanthus Altissima, a weed tree which grows in abundance in woods and fields.  From there they spread out to grape vines, fruit, Willow, Maples, pines, and timber trees.  As they get more used to the environment, it is thought that it will harm other varieties.  My neighbor, down the road, had three apple trees that are now without leaves and fruit.  According to the PA Department of Agriculture, “Trees will develop weeping wounds.  These wounds will leave a grayish or black trail along the trunk and the ground beneath will become black with their secretions."  It is said that on average, each one of these pests will lay 100 eggs and these masses are all over the bark of many, many trees.  There is little that can be done about them as they have no natural predators.  We are told to scrape the eggs off, which is not an easy task, especially if you are short and leery of long ladders. Swatting these bugs is exhausting as there are too many to even make a dent in the population.  A systemic insecticide seems to work but we have a few acres of woods behind our property and it would be cost prohibitive to do all of them.  They pose a multi-billion dollar threat to our state's economy because of the damage they do to wine and hops (OH, NO) fruit, logging, landscaping and other industries.  A friend works at a small airport and these bugs have infested most of the trees on their 200 acres of property.  He showed a video of them crawling up one tree, and there were thousands. I am sparing you the video, as it is disgusting.  The fear that some of these pests will hitch a ride on a plane and spread this threat is very real.  Right now it is like the plague of the locusts, they are all over, and it is not pleasant to be outside.

This picture was taken over a month ago on one of my trees.  There are many more bugs on it now.  




My beautiful Willow was a victim of the SLF.  We thought it looked stressed as its leaves were spotted and turning yellow in June.  We planned on calling an arborist in, but did not get the chance.  We woke up one Sunday morning with the tree on our house.



When it came down, we saw the that it was covered with the nymphs and the egg masses were all over the bark.  My Retired Man and I worked rapidly to get the tree off the house, probably to the chagrin of our neighbors who I am sure were not happy to be woken up early on a Sunday morning with the buzzing of a saw.  We got a good deal of it cleaned up but were beyond happy to see that our landscape helper "just" happened to be passing our house and stopped by to see what he could do.   It took a few days but it eventually got all cleaned up.  There was no damage to the house as Willow is a soft wood, but there was some to my heart.  I loved that tree.

He left the stump and told us to call someone else to remove it. I decided to keep it and made what I call "Memorial to Willow".  I wrapped fairy lights around it because I always overdo.



The grass is beginning to grow back and so is something else.  It is just one branch, but you never know.


 I call it Hope.




.



Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Natural Woman

We lost a great lady today, but how lucky we are that she was here in our lifetime.  I am doing OK.


She went by two names, but everyone knew her as Aretha.  No one, and I mean, no one, could belt songs out like her.  Fame is fleeting,  but her talent was not.  Two, and probably three  generations knew and loved her and danced and sang along to her music from the soul.

I found out about her death from my Retired Man, who spends his time each day in front of the TV watching political shows.  It drives me CRAZY.  Around 10:30 AM, he called out to me  about an alert on the news. He said that the station he was watching had gathered together some talking heads to discuss the tweets or the always breaking story of the day, but the moderator interrupted them and said, “Excuse me, we have an important announcement, Aretha Franklin has died.”  From then on, politics stopped, and a person of talent and character was the subject.  I left for work at noon and they were still playing her music.  What an improvement on their daily schedule!  I drove to and from work and both ways the station I was listening to (public radio) was playing only Aretha.  At home, I turned on the World News and the top story was Aretha.  We went out for a quick dinner and came home and found out that the program schedule had changed and instead of some nonsense, there was a program honoring Aretha.

It is all about Aretha today, and so it should be.  She upstaged them all. And yes,  she made me feel, she made me feel.....

We lost a treasure.  Rest In Peace, dear lady, you always had our love and RESPECT.  You sang us through the good times and the bad and we are grateful.  We were privileged to know your Amazing Grace.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wet

I need my high waders, but I am doing OK.

It has not been the summer that I expected, but then, what can anybody expect today with crazy weather patterns all over.   When it rained most of April, well, you know, April showers.  May brought more liquid sunshine than usual, but May is spring and we need it to help the flowers grow.  By June, I was getting water-logged but I was awed by the beautiful green terrain. By July, I was becoming pissed with so many events threatened by storms.  Then came August, our last hope.  It has poured or been predicted to pour almost every day.  Today, I awoke to what sounded like a monsoon.  Rain is coming down 2" to 6" an hour in the area.  Part of my yard looks like this. 



The weathercasters are saying this will continue all day, with threats of more tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, etc. etc.  Needless to say, we are breaking all records, and not ones we want.

Our western states are going through droughts and fires and it is all so terrible.  I am also hearing that the normally green UK is also having an unusual dry year and can use some showers. Hopefully, you are enjoying the sun and plants without mildew. 

I just returned from a wonderful trip to the Monterrey area of California.  They have no rain, but they do have fog, lots of fog, for half a day.  This keeps the area cool in the AM and usual afternoon temperatures in the 70s F. It was perfect, especially coming from the east where it has been sweltering, with high humidity, precipitation, and lots of bugs that bite.

My day, though, is planned.  I will worry.  The Retired Man had to go into the city today, and I am concerned about how he will get home.  My son and DIL took my grandson to Penn State (3 hours away) today to start his college years, and I will chew my fingernails until they get home.   

Oh my, the sun just came out!  I live in hope (and anxiety).

One hour later - black clouds are forming.

Time to eat a few cookies.  Sugar in my belly makes everything better.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Twists and Turns and then Splat

I took a break to deal with life. It used to be easier, but I am doing OK.

The road of life is full of twists and turns, a lot of bumps and quite a few roadblocks.  As we round corners we hope to be met by the bluebird of happiness, but sometimes it is a cackling crow.  I hate detours because I am directionally handicapped and always fear that I will lose my way, but somehow, miraculously, I find my way back home.  This is where I am safe, where I am loved and where my flowers grow.  Oh, there are hazards with steps and stairs, and more so recently, but I am familiar with the landscape, and I walk more carefully. The world seems to have become more harsh and more difficult to navigate and what I could have never imagined being acceptable is now tolerated and embraced. It is what it is, I say to myself, but I have tears for the children and what has been lost. I move forward, somewhat unsteady, with hope for today, some fear for tomorrows and with good memories of yesterdays.

I wrote that a month or so ago and decided not to publish.  However, I wanted you all to know that I really had not abandoned Blogger, but was just in a funky mood and not trusting my feelings.  I have, though, experienced some lovely times the past few months.  My family visited from the other side of the country.  That week brought me much happiness and it was a wonderful, busy time.  They moved away twenty years ago, and I still have an ache in my heart because of the distance between us.  Their visits mean the world to me. 

I went to a lantern festival in June with my sisters.  It was one of the most glorious sights I have ever seen and I got to share it with loved ones (and it was my birthday).  There were 13,000 people in attendance and approximately 12,997 lanterns went up in the air without much trouble.   Here, though, we were blessed by the kindness of strangers.  Perhaps, it was because they wanted to be helpful, or maybe they were afraid that we would burn down the field.  Our lanterns did eventually fly free, although, one was burning up as people ducked for cover as it passed up and down thru the crowd. 



Then I got my outside room.  It is smaller than I had hoped, but I love it and seven people and my large furniture fit nicely inside.   I have spent many hours out there, enjoying all the wonderful sounds of summer without the company of biting bugs and scorching sun.  Screens make me happy. I am still decorating it and redecorating it and moving things around.  I should get it right by the end of summer. The best part though, is having friends and family over to enjoy the beauty of a summer night with us. 



I have vacation plans this summer and I will be accompanied by one of my lovely granddaughters. What could be better than that! California, here we come! 

Thank you for stopping by. I am sorry that I have been missing for such a long time, and I will try to do better. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Simple Pleasures

The Magnolias are in bloom and I am doing OK.

It is the season of being busy, and although I may complain about an aching back, my mind is in a very good place. The sun is shining, the cherry, peach, and apple trees are magnificent and spring flowers are popping up all over.  The weather and my attitude has changed for the better.  There is so much work to be done and I think I am up to it, but, if not, there is a young man I have hired to help me when needed.  I did not want to do this as I have always prided myself on being self-sufficient (aka, Superwoman, without the cape, body and ability to fly), and giving into aging was not in my plan.  However, there are jobs that I just don't want to do anymore, like cutting down and pulling out bushes, cleaning out garden beds, and putting down ten yards of mulch. They just are not fun!  I will assist my helper with the mulch, but he will shovel and I will spread.  It is a control issue with me and besides, I am paying by the hour and I want to hurry him along.  I will still be designing my gardens, planting new flowers and tiding up after perennials because that is where I find my joy - in the dirt. 

With the warm weather, I want to be outside as much of the time as possible so the Retired Man and I  have decided to spend our children's inheritance on ourselves and will be having a new outdoor room built. I am so looking forward to this and am hoping for many lovely days and evenings kicking back with a cold beverage, watching somebody else work, and being thankful for the simple pleasures that life can bring in the summertime.

On another note, our family has expanded this last month.  We have two new granddogs thanks to my daughter and her family.  They are rescue pups and are my favorite breed, Heinz 57 (varieties).  It was a litter of 11 pups and it appears that there was more than one daddy involved. Two of them look like St. Bernards with corgi legs.  Others are tall, and some resemble Chow Chows. Hopefully, Momma won't do that again.  Finn is the tri-colored one and Ellie is the lovely redhead.  I can't stop smiling when I see them. 

Puppies = more simple pleasures.


 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Ahh, Spring!

We have been shoveling since 8AM, and the worst of the snowfall is yet to come.  I am still doing OK (at least for now).

#$@&%*!



&@#$%&! 






 !*%&$#!!!


And a few other choice words.

My old body hates snow!







Monday, February 26, 2018

Sometimes You Just Want to Scream.

Bitching and moaning, but I am doing OK.

Today, I had to make a doctor's appointment for a routine yearly test to be followed by a annual  physical.  Truly, I put these off as long as possible and unless blood is coming out of every oracle of my body, I don't want to be around anyone wearing a white coat and a stethoscope. Finally I decided that I had stalled too long and it was time, so I called the hospital to schedule a date. Then I waited, and waited, and waited for someone to answer while listening to drive-you-crazy music interrupted by a voice telling me how important I am.  At last (about five or so minutes), a young lady answered.  I told her what I wanted - stressing that it was not an emergency, just a routine test.  Fine, we understood each other.  Good start!  Before giving me an appointment they needed dates and numbers and more information than I thought necessary but, OK, I understand that they need to get paid.  When I told her that I had a Medicare card, that led to another long string of questions. I tried to not sound frustrated, but then my Retired Man came into the room and looked quizzically at my face. Apparently it might have been red and twisted at that point, and he was concerned I might be having a stroke. It was going on way too long so I finally sat down. I answered about 20 more questions that had nothing to do with the type of test I would be having, then she  asked me why I was using a Medicare card. Was it this, was it that,  and then finally, "is it because of age!!!!!!! What the heck!!!!!! For the vast majority of Medicare users, you have to be 65 and over.  One of the first questions she asked me was my date of birth. Perhaps she could not count past 50, so I took a deep breath and told her how very old I was.

Her next question to me, "Are you pregnant."


Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK

I have always believed in the value of faith, hope and charity and I am doing OK.




I passed this sign last year in Washington DC on my way to the Capital for the Women's March.  As we walked, we noticed that most of the houses had these signs attached to their gates.  The words of Martin Luther King were the inspirational words to guide us on or way.   

"I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear."

"The time is always right to do what is right."

"In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends".

"Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere".

MLK's speeches are part of the history of our lifetime but are, sadly, needed more today. They are words we read, but they should be the words we live.

Peace and justice begin with us.








Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sentimental Journey.



It is time to Fa La La, and I am doing OK

The pages of my life seem to be turning very quickly. It seems like we just put that "stuff" from Christmas away, and then, pow, that season comes upon us again.  So, it is time to dig in, accept that another year has passed and get with the program.  So down to the basement I went, checked out the numerous boxes of decorations, and sat down on the floor and considered my options.  Why do I have all these containers? I gave so much away last year, and there is still too much.  Should I open them all?  If I don't see them, I won't feel the need to use them.  I decided to just look at the tree ornaments.  Many of the them are inscribed with dates.  Some have the names of people who have passed on and who once gifted me these.  Tears started to fall.  Yes, those from my mom will definitely go on the tree.  Then I came across a container labeled "special ornaments".  These are the ones that my children made or bought for me.  Who couldn't love a tin ashtray from a bowling ally of the late 70's. There was also the hanging lady, created by my oldest daughter and made out of pipe cleaners. They are smoke'n aren't they?  How times have changed.


There was one of a felt tree that was decorated with glue and buttons. The writing is faded and I could not make out the name of the artist, but it made me emotional anyway. I came across the paper 3D snowman that my baby daughter made at age 7.  That definitely must go on.


I have many beautiful and some expensive ornaments that I have collected over the years.  I do love their sparkle and am always so happy to display them.  They give me joy also so they go on and join these others that for some years were only displayed on the sides and back of the tree. 
 
 I also found a box full of Christmas cards that were sent to us on our first anniversary.  I read through each and every one.  People in those days tended to write notes and, again, I cried.  What a sentimental old lady I am but I will admit that am glad that I saved them.  50 years later I can still remember some of those people like it was yesterday. They will remain forever young in my mind.

Nothing much got done that day as I ended up opening all of the containers and deciding that maybe I will use everything.  Then I rethought it, considering that what goes up must come down and it is the coming down that I hate.   Half will be enough. 

While decorating, an ornament that my Mom gave me, fell and broke.  That hurt and I wanted to fix it but there are many things in life that can't be repaired and we have to move on and accept loss.   What is in my heart, will stay in my heart till its last beat.  The reminders of the past and the joys we had at this season of the year are part of me and I think my tree tells a lovely story. 



.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday, full of smiles and contentment.  We all celebrate these days differently but it is the same message of peace and love that we seek. It has been a difficult year for many of us and there might be some more hard days ahead.  Take this time to be grateful for what you have and try to find some time to give to others who aren't as fortunate.  It is through giving that we get the most joy.

Also, like my bottle holder frog,
Make Merry







Monday, October 30, 2017

Change Over

Autumn finally came, and except for weak knees,  I am doing OK.

Fall is usually lovely, but it only lasts for about a week or two, especially this year.  The trees started to change about five days ago, and today big winds came and blew them off.  Easy come, swiftly gone.  However, because of the elongated summer, I was able to enjoy, for an extra month, all the work that Mother Nature did on my gardens. 

Back in May I put some two inch plants into the ground and/or pots.  They weighed a few ounces each. 




Park's Seeds

It rained a lot in Pennsylvania and so with very little help from me, they became these:
                                           
                                          My daughter, my model.
                           It rained so often, cushions seldom were put on the chairs. 

                                               There is a bench under there.
                     Night time on the woods edge (with some help from solar lighting)
 
My favorite cactus
 
 
                                                         .
                                A view on my deck. (if there is room, there is a flower)
 
 
 
 
                                Hard to see, but this is inside my Zen Garden at night. 
 
Yes, I overdo, but I have cut back on the amount of annuals that I have planted in the past. These are a few of my garden areas; most of the remaining are full of perennials that bloom for shorter times in the summer and need less care.
 
 
Now, though, is the time to say good-bye to all these lovely flowers that surround me.  I started dismantling the gardens two weeks ago - very slowly.  What were once small and weightless, are now very large with roots that cling to other roots and refuse to let go.  I know how they feel.  I am down to the largest pots and am promising myself that I will not plant this many next year. 
 
 
I think I remember promising myself the same thing last year.  
 
 
I hope you all have a fun Halloween with lots of visits from gremlins begging for candy, unless, of course, you want it all for yourself. 


 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Reaching Out to Strangers



It was a funky summer, but I am doing OK

A few years ago a little girl in a town nearby was stricken with cancer.  She was a beautiful, blond haired, blue-eyed child and she became a major story in the papers and on social media.  People wanted to help in any way they could and money and kindness poured in from generous donors to benefit and comfort this family.   There was not much hope that she would get better, but we all wanted for her to have more time.  Unfortunately, that was something that we could not give and she passed away within six months of her diagnosis.  We all mourned.  The family was grief-stricken and the dad, in his misery, yelled against God to the media.  Tables turned.  Some of the people wrote nasty things about him and demanded their money back.  They thought they were giving to a Christian family like themselves, and his words told them that he did not deserve any of it.  Most , though, heard his pain and held him and his family close and forever in their hearts.

This has been a month of many sorrows.  The hurricanes, the fires, and the earthquakes have tested us. We watched as people lost everything, including their lives and the lives of those they loved. It was wrenching to witness and it continues.  However, out of all this destruction and terror, humanity answered.  Thousands walked through waist-deep water to save others, they brought their own equipment from far away to assist those in need, and they carried old people, babies and animals to safety, regardless of their own well being.  They did not notice race, ask their religion or their political affiliation; they just wanted to do the right thing.  Caring about each other is natural and it is instinctive.  Why is there so much noise in this world about your God, my God, your race, my race, your country, my country, and all the other things that divide us.  We are all in this together and we need each other.  Hate and jealousy will always be with us, but we should not let them get the upper hand.

These are tough times and it is sometimes a fight to stay joyful, but I think of that man, in the midst of Harvey, carrying an elderly lady out of her flooded home and she holding tightly to him and staring into his face.  It was such a beautiful picture and gives me optimism that faith, hope, and charity will always be with us. 

Next post will be more upbeat, I just had to let those thoughts out tonight. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

What The World Needs Now Are More Puppies

The world is certifiably crazy but I am doing kind of OK.


Depression is on the rise but perhaps a puppy or kitten in every house would improve our mood. Nothing can make one smile more than looking into the eyes of these lovable creatures. Years ago, when I had stressful days at work, I would go to a local pet store to play with the animals that were allowed to roam around in the store (be careful where you step). Holding and cuddling a dog or cat changed my attitude and worked miracles. In today's frightening, strange, perplexing times, may I suggest that when listening or watching the news, you sit in the middle of a large litter of pooches and/or felines (the more the merrier to counter all the negative feelings), pour yourself a glass of fine wine, and just turn the volume to mute.  We have to carry on some way.



Daisy loving The Retired Man's hair. 


.

Friday, June 30, 2017

He Likes Red, She Prefers White

But after 50 years together, she compromised with Rose`and it's all OK.

It has been a busy month.  My oldest granddaughter graduated from high school, my California family came to visit  and, oh yes, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.  That is half a century/600 months/2600 weeks/18,262.5 days (counting leap years).  Our wedding was our 30th date and we hardly knew each other (duh), but we had that racing heart thing (aka, passion) that goes with youth. We thought that was all we needed, and well, it sure helped to have that over the years.  We have had good times, bad times funny times, sad times and have done that sickness and health bit too often but we made a promise, we made a home, we made a family, and we made a life. We never gave up on each other and we never will. We have grown old and our hearing is fading but that has always been selective anyway. He complains a lot about perceived annoyances, and I mutter under my breath.  We say "huh" often and that ends the conversation and that's OK.  I keep a schedule and notes all around.  He does not want to be bothered with details and is glad I do.  My hands have lost their strength but he is always there to open my jars.  We are Yin and Yang and will never agree on some things but we usually do on the important things.  He gets his way more than I do, but I let him.  He knows how to make me smile and sometimes I need that.

A few weeks ago our children, sons'-in-law, daughter-in-law and grandchildren threw us a surprise party for our anniversary.  We had no idea. We went to our daughter's house for what we thought was a graduation party and upon entering the home, a large group of people screamed surprise and almost knocked us off our feet.  There were people who were local and some from far away.  I have never felt surrounded by so much love.  I had been going through some health issues but that day, I felt great.  There was a magnificent cake made by my son-in-law, pictures of us throughout the years decorating every table and even a video of us streaming on the TV. The food was more and better tasting than what we had on our wedding day, and the music and decorations sounded and looked professionally done. There was even a photographer there and a photo booth with costumes to entertain the guests.  I was so happy and I wanted that day to last a week. It was the most beautiful and generous gift that has ever been given to us.









I told them that they can do it all over again on our 75th.  Next time though, no surprises.



50 year later, he still stirs my heart.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Manana Life

The sun will come out tomorrow, so I am doing OK.


I need to take a trip to the store, but it's raining. I'll do it tomorrow.  Make an appointment - tomorrow.  Defrost tonight's dinner - tomorrow.  Clean out closets - definitely tomorrow.  Seeds are still in their packages, potting soil bags  are unopened, and layers of fall leaves clutter my gardens.  Plans that are usually made this time of year, aren't.  I might need a dose of Vitameatavegamin or a B12 shot to counteract these dreaded blahs. It started in March, but has its roots in November. Bare trees do that to me.  Then the warm February came and some energy returned.  The trees spouted buds and green was popping out of the soil. I was stoked as I anticipated an early spring. Then the snow, sleet, and ice came and the buds on the Willow disappeared. The beginnings of the spring bulbs lay under the white, thick ice that a sledgehammer couldn't penetrate.  It has gotten warmer now and the season is proceeding as it should, but I am lost in my maƱana-land and am feeling quite comfortable in it. I am sure my mojo will return - maybe tomorrow.

"The window she is broken, and the rain is comin' in
If someone doesn't fix it, I'll be soaking to my skin.
But if we wait a day or two, the rain may go away
And we don't need a window on such a sunny day.
Manana, manana, manana  is soon enough for me.
Peggy Lee

How you doin'

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Coming Out From Under the Covers



Thankfully, we are experiencing an early spring, and I am doing OK.

Winter is not my favorite season and it often plays havoc with my mind.  Believe me, my mind is a delicate thing these days and any disruption to my brain cells can be catastrophic.   However, the gods have looked down kindly on us in the Middle Atlantic states, and said, "Yes, you who live close to Washington, DC deserve some refuge from these distasteful times so we will bestow upon you a  short, mild winter" So spring came early!!



Oh, I know it might not last, but what does?  I am smiling again. I hope you can do the same.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Arleen Goes To Washington

I've done all the reading and planning, and am now set for my big adventure, and I am doing OK.

1/18/17:
This post is being started three days before I depart for the Woman's March on Washington.  One person has told me that I am crazy, others have expressed their concern about such an endeavor at my age, and others just stare because words fail them.  They all have a point.

I have my thermals, I have my clear plastic tote, I have my hand and feet warmers and I have my pocket chair.  I am keeping an eye on the forecast in Washington and, so far, they are showing a clear day in the mid-50s.  I might not need the thermals. They are calling for some rain on inauguration day.  Tears from the heavens!

I am being told that this rally is not political, it is personal.  I can agree with that.

The night before:
There is some nervousness, but I am going to ignore it and let go of my fears.  My daughter, who is also going to march in her city of Santa Cruz, sent me a necklace with the peace sign on it.  She inspires me and she is proud of me, as are my other children. 

4:30 AM, Saturday
Up, dressed and almost out the door.  I was a little tired when I did my signs, and some letters went a little askew, but I only had two placards and figured nobody would really notice.  Besides, it fit my personality well.



Arrived at 5:05 where buses were to depart at 5:30 and found people already boarding. There was no room for my companion and I, but two other buses are supposed to arrive any minute.  The first two took off on time and we were to wait for ours that were expected any minute. This transportation was secured from another transportation company, and somehow things were not coordinated correctly and they did not show up for another 90 minutes.  That meant that we would not arrive until 10:30, which is after the rally is to begin.  200,000 to 300,000 were expected so getting there at that time, would put us at the disadvantage of getting close to anything.  However, we had our Metro cards and thought that if we took the train as soon as we arrived, we would get to see most of the rally.

Looking hopeful


We read on our phones that the crowd was surpassing what was predicted and there would be half a million people at the march  At about this time, the driver asked if anyone knew how to get there.  Apparently, he did not have GPS and this was not his regular route.  As I sunk in my seat near tears, an ambulance and fire engines whizzed by.  An accident had happened down the road but all I could think about was me and how this too was going to affect the trip.  We passed the cars and saw doctors working on some people on stretchers.  That brought me back to reality.  Getting to the rally seemed small in comparison to what was happening there and my heart went out to those poor people.


11:30 AM:
We arrive.  We cannot get on the Metro because it is too crowded and probably a two hour wait so we must walk the 2 1/2 to 3 miles.  No problem.  I am wearing very comfortable boots and I love to walk.  On the way, we meet the friendliest people, including those from the National Guard, who thank us for being there and wish us a great day.  The streets we walked were beautiful, with Victorian homes dotting both sides of the road.  Most of the homes displayed signs in honor of Martin Luther King.  They were inspiring and wonderful to see. 


We continued towards the capital and passed many funny, touching, and motivating signs.  Women's anatomy seemed to be the central theme and I enjoyed reading them.  I was stopped a few times and asked if someone could take a picture of the message that I was wearing.  I chose "dignity" and "human rights" as my topic.  An old woman talking about their vagina seemed a little inappropriate for me.  There were plenty of others who could do that subject more justice.   



Some signs that I liked:






There were many men there also in pink hats.  They were there to support their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters.  I wanted to thank them all.



A message that I saw a few times and was carried by various older women said, "I can't believe that after all these years, I am still protesting this s_ _ t".  How true and how sad.

There were people there of every ethnic background, every color, every religion and sexual orientation. There were babies and teenagers, the young and the old, and the disabled.  I saw quite a few people in wheelchairs and with canes.  Some brought tears to my eyes because you knew how important and hard it was for them to be there.

We never got to see the celebrities talk.  We never got to the mall where people were stuffed in like sardines. We only got to march for a few blocks before it was stopped because the crowd was too large for the streets.  However, none of that mattered.  I was there and experienced a wonderful, exciting and important day.  I was even interviewed by some ladies from an on-line site and the article was posted today.  I am not fond of the picture or the quote they chose (out of my 5 minute conversation), but, heck, someone wanted to listen to me and that is a blessing at my age.  On our long walk back to the bus, we came across local residents who put out tables and poured water and juice and offered apples and other treats to the weary visitors. Some people, I hear, were also invited into their homes to rest. Now that is hospitality!  They wished us well and thanked us for coming.  Washington is a beautiful place with beautiful citizens.

Most of the news today is very positive about our effort which was far more attended than anyone ever imagined.  The world marched also, as there were events in all seven continents, including Antarctica.  No matter our differences, what all of us humans have in common is the quest for human rights and to live in a safe, clean world with respect and dignity.  The work started Saturday, and it shall continue.